8 Myths of Estate Planning
No believer knows when Christ will call them home. Don’t let one of these common misconceptions stop you from protecting your family and supporting ministries like OJPM.
Myth 1: I don’t need an estate plan because… wait, what exactly is an estate plan?!
While this technically isn’t a myth, the nature of estate planning seems shrouded in mystery. This may be because it’s difficult to talk about what happens when we die. So, what is an estate plan? An estate plan is a set of essential legal documents that settle critical end-of-life decisions like asset distribution, children’s guardianship, healthcare decisions and charitable giving.
Myth 2: Only the wealthy or retired need an estate plan.
This is the single biggest misconception about estate planning. While it may sound like something for the “rich and famous,” everyone needs an estate plan, regardless of income, age or marital status. Even those with modest means (or significant debt) still have assets like their home, personal effects and other possessions that must be distributed. For young families, an estate plan answers questions about who will care for your children if both parents die.
Myth 3: My spouse or family will take care of this after I’m gone.
This is a tremendous burden to place on family members who are already grieving your loss. Without an estate plan, you are forcing them to guess your wishes and to rely on state law regarding the distribution of your assets. Families can be torn apart by disagreements over how a loved one’s assets should be divided. An estate plan resolves this by detailing your desires in advance.
Myth 4: I’m married but I don’t have children so I don’t need an estate plan.
Don’t assume your assets will easily transfer to your spouse. There are often complex legal hurdles that an estate plan can help avoid. Plus, without an estate plan more of your spouse’s assets may be lost to taxes, court costs or legal fees.
Myth 5: I don’t need an estate plan because I’m single.
Death doesn’t discriminate by marital status. Without an estate plan, state law will determine what happens to your assets when you pass — not you. An estate plan also includes vital information about your care should you become disabled or incapacitated. If you are incapacitated, what choices do you want made about your life? Don’t assume parents, siblings, or other relatives can make choices according to your wishes. Save them from the burden of guessing what you “would have wanted.”
Myth 6: It’s complicated and time consuming.
Not with help from the estate planning experts at The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma. OJPM’s partnership with the Foundation provides access to a host of complimentary estate planning resources if you leave a qualifying gift to ministry.
Myth 7: I’ll get around to it eventually.
Sadly, we’ve heard this from far too many families whose loved one has unexpectedly passed away or become incapacitated without an estate plan in place. The Bible tells us life is short and that no believer knows when Christ will call them home. Please don’t put off your estate plan. The Foundation’s online Estate Planning Guidebook streamlines the process, allowing you to complete the majority of the work at your pace, from the comfort of your home — even in your PJs! You can access the guidebook for free at www.bfok.org/plan.
Myth 8: I already have an estate plan, so I’m set for life.
Life doesn’t stand still. Babies are born, teenagers become adults and sometimes a spouse or child leaves this earth before you do. Updating your estate plan every five to seven years is critical to wise stewardship of your estate.
CALL TO ACTION: Protect your family with an estate plan.
Oklahoma Jail and Prison Ministries’ partnership with The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma provides access to a host of complimentary estate planning resources you can use to protect your family and support the work of OJPM. Learn more by contacting the Foundation’s estate planning experts at 800-949-9988 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting www.bfok.org/plan.
Oklahoma Jail and Prison Ministries (OJPM) volunteers receive some of the best training that is available in the market. The qualified volunteers not only come straight out of the communities in which we serve, but also adhere to all policies that are required by our office and uphold to a higher standard than what you would normally see in other ministries. They not only consider themselves ambassadors who represent our Sheriff’s office but also make themselves readily available to serve our staff if need be. Once the volunteer passes our background check and is approved through our office, he/she is trained by our qualified site chaplain provided by OJPM. This training also involves the federally required PREA provided by OJPM semi-annually in Oklahoma City.
OJPM has taken this part of the work-load upon themselves so that I can focus on the rest of the duties at hand. I appreciate the training and the accountability that all of the volunteers are required to participate in, as well as all of the Bibles and study materials that they furnish. Please consider visiting OJPM’s website at www.ojpm.org and/or contacting them at (405) 917-2242 to partner together with you.
My name is David Mackey and I have done twelve years in D.O.C. custody and no matter how long I’ve been in, it never gets easier. The only way that I make it day to day is through the grace of God. I have always believed in the Lord but I guess in a sense, I have been taking it for granted most of my life. The older I get the more I am starting to realize that if it was not for Him, I would have not made it as long as I have. The visits from OJPM Chaplain Jesse West and the Bible study literature, along with the Christian books have been a tremendous encouragement to me and to others who are here. The Lord has put me on this earth for a reason. I don’t know exactly what that reason is but for now, I am going to just spread the Word.
I sit here in the Bryan County jail and I seem to always have a smile on my face. I see other people in my same position and they just seem mad at the world and the only difference I see is that I put the Lord first in my life. I wake up every morning and the first thing I do is thank the Lord for everything He will do in the future. That is the way I start my day and that is the last thing I do before I go to sleep. One of these days I will get out of here and when I do, I will continue to do this same thing because without Him in my life nothing is possible.
Where did it go wrong?
I ask myself where it all went wrong. Was it when I was four and passed around? Where my body was torn and used, the beatings, the emotional abuse, the neglect. Maybe it was when I was seven and so broken that I stopped believing in anything good and just learned how to survive. Could it have been all the abuse that continued to happen in the system?
How about when I was married at 14 to a 21-year-old selfish, neglectful, abusive man? My spirit was broken so many times, but my will, my mind, my strength could not be taken. I know now it was given by God. I was full of anger and hate for so many years. One day an angel was born to me. For the first time I felt a mother’s surge of protection and love. My heart’s armor cracked. Compassion overran my hatred, love over ran my anger.
Through the years no matter what was done, I lived for my angel. I was blessed with four more angels born to me. At the time I didn’t know what God had given me. Since, I turned my back on Him and all His hope. Now, that I have returned to Jesus I know that He gave me back my heart through each angel blessed to me.
My hope was given when I failed to see through my brokenness He never left, I was blinded by my shattered spirit. So, I have to ask where did it go wrong or maybe it didn’t. Maybe this journey was always meant to strengthen what was shattered. Maybe it was meant to help me see the pain of my past and each dent it made. I can heal now and know who God has always meant for me to be.
Yes, prison is as bad as everyone hears. Though it is also a choice. You can learn to overcome, or you can give in and give up. That is how I know I will be stronger, smarter because of Jesus. Through my pain and through my past, He gave me the will and strength to never give up. To fight and push through. So, maybe in the end nothing went wrong and it’s just a step toward a fulfilled journey.